August 19, 2017

Rethink the release

Focus on the reader, not on PR 101 approaches

When Rachel McGrew, manager at Osborn Barr PR, wrote a press release about a client product, she didn’t rely on the PR 101 approaches she learned in college. Instead, she reimagined her release to write for the reader, not for fill-in-the-blanks PR conventions.

Rethink the release

Write about the reader We think the topic is the topic. But if you want to get read, make the reader the topic of every release. Photo by Flood G.

“We received way more coverage than we expected,” McGrew said. “We targeted several major national agriculture publications, and the release was picked up by all of them.”

Here’s how to write a press release that focuses on the reader:

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“There’s too much time spent trying to bamboozle us with flowery marketing-babble instead of cutting to the chase and saying just why this should be important to readers.”
— Charles Cooper of Ziff Davis in a Softletter survey of media about the quality of PR writing

Think Like a Reporter

Develop stories that media outlets want to run

Consider the numbers:

  • Two-thirds of business-to-business editors said that fewer than half of the releases they receive are relevant to their publication, according to a survey conducted by Thomas Rankin Associates.

  • Some 65% to 75% of city editors believed media relations pieces promote “products, services and other activities that don’t legitimately deserve promotion,” writes Dennis L. Wilcox and Lawrence W. Nolte in Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques.

  • No wonder some studies estimate that 55% to 97% of all releases sent to media outlets are never used, according to Wilcox and Nolte.

Think Like a Reporter

Release me Learn to write PR pieces that the media wants to use. Image by Alexandre Roschewitz

So how can you create PR pieces that are among the 3% to 45% of those that actually get the word out?

So, in this environment, how do we reach readers online?

At NOT Your Father’s News Release — our two-day PR-writing master class on May 18-19 in Chicago, and on Nov. 16-17 in Kansas — you’ll learn how to think like a reporter to develop story angles that readers want to read (and that journalists and bloggers want to run).

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Fill in the blanks to a great benefits lead: You’ll leave with formulas and recipes for crafting leads that sell the story and stand out from the crowd.
  • Move from event to impact: Learn simple steps for transforming your event, speech or meeting coverage into news readers can use to live their lives better.
  • Create two types of stories media outlets want more of (and avoid one they wish they’d never see again!)
  • Go beyond “new and improved” to information readers really want to know about your product.
  • Steal secrets from Silver Anvil winners: What do nationally award-winning PR writers do that you don’t do?

Our early access tickets with $100 discount are long gone. You can save $50 if you register by 5 p.m. PDT on April 18. Then — poof! — our advanced admission discount disappears. Register now.

“My manager came in to my office and said, ‘Wow, who wrote the release you just sent me? It was great!’ Overall I have seen an improvement in my writing skills daily.”
— Tricia Hummel, City of Naperville

Polish your skills at these Master Classes

Learn to Master the Art of the Storyteller, Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more

Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's Concise Writing workshop in Washington, D.C. on April 6-7, 2017
Register for Not Your Father's News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing workshop in Chicago on May 18-19, 2017
Register for Catch Your Reader: Ann Wylie's persuasive writing workshop in Boston on June 19-20, 2017
Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie's online-writing workshop in Portland on July 27-28, 2017
Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie's concise-writing workshop in San Francisco on Aug, 17-18, 2017
Register for Master the Art of the Storyteller in New York: Ann Wylie's creative-writing workshop in New York on Sept. 25-26, 2017
Register for Catch Your Readers in Dallas: Ann Wylie's persuasive writing workshop in Dallas on Oct. 16-17
Register for Not Your Father's News Release - Ann Wylie's PR-writing workshop in Kansas City on Nov. 16-17, 2017
Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie's online-writing workshop in Miami on Dec. 11-12, 2017

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  • Avon, Connecticut: May 31
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  • Dallas: Oct. 16-17
  • Geneva: July 6
  • Johnson, Rhode Island: Aug. 7-11
  • Kansas City: Nov. 16-17
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